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National Museum of Australia

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4

Convict love token 1844

2007.0050.0004

On display

Convict love token 1844

Object information

Physical description

A convict love token featuring, on the obverse, a stipple circular design around engraved text 'L.B / S.W / 1844'. The reverse features two stippled hearts and a diamon with the text 'Once i / was a tend / er Child and /on my mothers / Knee But Know / i am in Prison / Bown down / in Slavery'.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of 4 Convict Love Tokens: one copper halfpenny engraved with MC/1792; one cartwheel penny engraved with squire with rifle and dog; one copper penny engraved with a sailor in front of a sailing ship; and one shaved down penny with 'L.B/L.W/1844'.

Convict love tokens, typically made of smoothed down coins and engraved or stippled with a message, provide a poignant, personal insight into the transportation system, as well as its transnational character. Also known as 'leaden hearts', the tokens stem from traditional sailors' farewells. Convict tokens were made for the whole of the Transportation period in New South Wales and Tasmania, with the majority produced during the 1820s and 1830s. As objects purposely made by or for convicts to give as mementoes, to be left behind when the prisoner was transported, the tokens are a unique part of the record of a convict's transportation experience.

Physical description

On display at the National Museum of Australia.

Object information

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